Tri-Cities celebrates National Small Business Week

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – It’s National Small Business Week and local towns all the way up to the president of the United States are celebrating small businesses.

According to the U.S. Chamber, one in every two people either works for or owns a small business in the U.S.

In downtown Johnson City, most of the businesses you’ll run across fall into the small business category with 500 or fewer employees.

We talked with the owners of the Owl’s Nest, a resale shop that just moved downtown.

“When you come down here you’re not just going to a store you’re going to a community,” Owl’s Nest owner Brian Moore said.

The Moores started their lives from scratch here in Johnson City after moving from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Without much money or many connections, they started their business in Johnson City seven years ago.

“So many challenges: having people believe in you that this is really something that you can do, the funding to get started,” Jessica Moore, owner of the Owl’s Nest said.

And now small businesses like this one are popping up all over downtown.

“If you just check out downtown we see a wonderful advent of new small businesses downtown of all varieties from the dining variety, to the drinking variety, to shopping variety,” Gary Mabrey, president/ CEO for the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce said.

Johnson City leaders say with so much online shopping, they hope having a variety of small businesses will create an experience you can’t get online.

“I would say that would be our greatest struggle people don’t normally think of going to the mom-and-pop stores,” Jessica Moore said.”We get to really know the customers, we get to love them, and to be able to tailor what they need and help them find what they need.”

Maybrey said retail revenue continues to grow in Johnson City.

“It’s that reason that people come to town, it’s that reason that people shop in town, it’s that reason that people expand their businesses to stay in town,” Maybrey said.

Maybrey says 95% of the 1,000 Chamber of Commerce members are small businesses. One challenge Brian Moore mentioned in running a small business is that they don’t get as many tax breaks as larger corporations seem to get.

In a statement on Small Business Week President Donald Trump said one of the biggest problems facing small businesses is the “complicated,” and “often unfair tax system.” Trump said tax reform under his administration will help small businesses.

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